LESLIE: Jesse’s got a question about how to get paint off cinder block walls. What’s going on?
JESSE: Previous people that lived in the house that I just purchased here, their kids were a little rambunctious (laughing) and either spray painted or latex painted or oil painted the cinder block walls in the basement. And …
TOM: And you don’t like the color.
LESLIE: Or is it like multiples of colors? (laughing)
JESSE: Yeah, it’s multiple colors. Most definitely.
TOM: Alright. Well, I mean I don’t think the question is how do you get the paint off but it’s how do …
LESLIE: How to cover it up.
TOM: Yeah, how you cover up.
JESSE: Yeah. Especially since I’ve got three younger kids and some of that stuff that my wife even blushes about.
TOM: Yeah, I hear you.
LESLIE: Oh. (laughing)
TOM: Well, here’s what you want to do. First of all, you’ve got to use a good quality primer. Is this paint well-adhered? I mean nothing’s flaking off?
JESSE: Yeah, it’s really well-adhered.
LESLIE: Of course it is. (chuckling)
JESSE: I’ve tried peeling it and …
TOM: Yeah, of course. It’s …
LESLIE: When you want the paint to stick well, you can’t get it. When it’s like obscenities …
TOM: Graffiti usually is well-adhered. (laughing)
LESLIE: … it stays.
JESSE: Got it.
TOM: What I would do is use a good quality primer. Now, you can use a damp-proofing paint – like a water seal basement paint.
TOM: That’s really good, thick stuff but I will tell you that it smells really, really bad while it’s going on. Or …
LESLIE: So take the kids away for the weekend.
TOM: Otherwise, they’ll be floating all over the house (laughing) if they smell those odors.
JESSE: Oh, they do that anyway. (laughing)
TOM: But the other thing that you might want to do is simply use like an oil-based primer; like a KILZ primer or something of that nature. And once you get the primer on – you probably need one or two coats of that – let it dry really, really well …
LESLIE: Yeah, but with KILZ they have those KILZ color paints now. You won’t even need to prime. It’s two in one.
TOM: Well, no. I think you still need to prime. The top coat has to go on top of the prime coat. It is thick that it covers everything in one coat but that’s for the wall paint you’re thinking about.
TOM: Yeah, you want to prime first and then put the color coat on top of that.
JESSE: Okay. That makes a lot better sense than what I was thinking about doing.
TOM: Yeah, what were you thinking about doing?
JESSE: Wire brushing the entire basement walls. And that was going to take forever and then some.
TOM: Oh, no.
LESLIE: Oh gosh, no.
TOM: Cover it up, man. If it’s sticking and it’s not … the reason I asked you if it was peeling, because then it would be a bad surface to paint over. But if it’s adhering well, then just prime it so you get a neutral surface that you can do whatever you want with on top of that.
LESLIE: The good news is the paint is sticking well. So you have a good moisture control in that room.
JESSE: Yeah. Where it was done, yeah. But the other end of the basement is where the moisture problem is I’m having anyways.
TOM: Well, what’s the moisture problem? Is it leaking?
JESSE: Our water table’s actually about two foot higher than our basement floor.
TOM: Not likely. When does it leak? Does it leak after heavy rain?
JESSE: Spring time.
TOM: Yeah. After rainfall, though?
JESSE: Yeah, a lot of times right after the rainfall you can see it …
TOM: Yeah, that’s not a water table, Jesse. That’s drainage. No…
TOM: … you’ve got to look outside that wall space. There’s too much water collecting there. Too …
LESLIE: Wait, are you getting two feet of water in the basement?
JESSE: No, no, no, no. I’ve got a … it’s an older house; it’s got a weep line around the basement wall; where the wall and floor meet. But I get a puddle that shows up across the middle of the basement floor.
TOM: Yeah, same thing …
JESSE: I actually live about a block and a half from a lake.
TOM: No, but same thing, Jesse. If the water’s coming in consistent with heavy rain, that water’s pushing around the outside of the walls and then coming up through the floor. It’s not a rising water table.
TOM: They don’t build homes below water tables. It’s just not done.
TOM: So if you’re getting water consistent with rainfall, look at the grading, look at the gutters and get the water managed so that it’s staying away from the house. That will solve the leakage issue and then once you do that, then you can prime and paint that wall, too, and it’ll all match.
TOM: Alright, Jesse?
JESSE: I appreciate the help very much.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.